The Indian Air Force (IAF) has selected the A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) for its tanker procurement in preference to the Ilyushin Il-78MK, after a second round of bidding. Commercial negotiations for six aircraft with an option for three more will start soon, and a contract that includes a 30-percent offset commitment is expected to be signed by June.
An order from Aviation Capital Group for fifty 737 Max 8s and ten 737 Max 9s last week lifted Boeing’s firm order total for the prospective re-engined narrowbodies to more than 1,000 and capped a solid year in which for the first time since 2002 the U.S. company outperformed Airbus in both deliveries and sales. Closed in December, the ACG contract increased the number of 737 Maxs on firm order to 1,029 and Boeing’s total firm order count for last year to 1,203.
EADS Innovation Works is reviewing options for the materials Airbus could use on an airplane to replace the A320eo in 2022. The competition between metal and composites remains intense, prompting EADS IW boss Yann Barbaux to advise against betting on a full-composite airplane, now designated the A30X.
Bristol Flying Center (BFC), the aviation services provider at the UK’s Bristol Airport, has completed an expansion after its parent company signed two handling contracts, one of them with a regional airline that handles Airbus corporate business. The FBO expects to see its annual passenger numbers increase 1,700 percent as a result of the agreements, which take effect this month. The company has completed two new passenger lounges and a separate crew lounge, along with new security screening facilities and redesigned reception areas in its 6,500-sq-ft terminal.
Eurocopter has signed the first customer for the AS332C1e Super Puma, the “low cost” version of the medium twin. Starlite Aviation, an operator based in Ireland and South Africa, will be the first to fly the new, shorter-fuselage variant. Starlite provides passenger and cargo flights and heavy sling-load operations for, among others, United Nations agencies.
Embraer and Boeing have collaborated on a product called the runway situational awareness (RSA) tool to help reduce runway excursions. The announcement comes eight months after the two airframers agreed to look for ways to cooperatively enhance the value of both companies, and a couple of weeks after rival Airbus took a similar initiative.
Just a week after release of an airworthiness directive to address blockages in the angle-of-attack (AOA) systems installed on Airbus A330/340s, the European Aviation Safety Agency has included other models of the Airbus series in the procedural updates.
Under the codename X6, Eurocopter is reported to be about to launch a new helicopter line that will supersede the AS332/EC225 Super Puma medium-twin series, according to French financial publication Sud Infos. The Marignane, France-based manufacturer reportedly aims to have the new helicopter in service by 2020. The first AS332 Super Puma was delivered in 1981.
The Airbus Corporate Jet Centre has signed a customized support package covering the two Airbus ACJs that the center has delivered to Russia’s state flight department, which flies the aircraft on government transport duties. The support contract is part of ACJC’s VIP Pass, a program that provides support dedicated to the ACJ, rather than relying on airliner-type MRO support.
Sabena Technics (Stand 619) is promoting its capabilities in VIP aircraft completion and refurbishment, as company officials see the Middle East as a fertile region for its business. The company, whose parent TAT Group is based in Tours, France, also is engaged in aircraft leasing and real estate businesses. It plans to open a showroom in Bordeaux, France, where customers can plan their interiors.